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SDCC@HOME: Wednesday 22nd July 2020 (Preview Night) Online Programming, schedule released

San Diego Comic-Con 2020 has moved to the virtual space – but the event rolls on as though it is taking place right there in the San Diego Convention Centre, with SDCC@HOME running over the SDCC week (Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th July; Preview Night, Wednesday 22nd July).

Traditionally, the schedules for the panels are released the equivalent days of the IRL event, two weeks beforehand: Thursday for the Thursday, Friday for the Friday, and so on. And as such, by Sunday, we’re fully expecting to find out exactly what content fans will be able to enjoy on the CCI YouTube channel in a fortnights time.

Wednesday doesn’t normally have too much programming – shy of Previews of WB/DC shows screened in Ballroom 20 and the schools programming usually found in venues such as the San Diego Library – for SDCC@HOME, however, it’s another change in the roundabout world of 2020 with panels being announced today. Encouragingly, they’re all the comics- and education-based ones, too, which is hopefully signs of things to come in later programming.

And we’ve also got been shared the panel links for these first panels; it’s great to see that SDCC are still doing their best to represent beyond the bigger headline-grabbing panels and bringing these smaller, niche presentations for fans to enjoy. We’ll find out soon enough if this variety of programming will continue throughout the weekend – and, indeed, whether we will be seeing the likes of Marvel making an appearance (or not, as is being rumoured).

Small start, but some familiar names in the line-up already – Faith Erin Hicks participates in an interesting panel on the next generation of comics readers; Ebony Flowers, David F. Walker and Brian Michael Bendis take part in a panel on using the medium in teaching; and good friends to TCC, Rob Salkowitz and Paul Levitz discuss the role of comics in higher-level education. Watch this space for tomorrow – a lot more to come…



Lit-X Teacher Cohort members Eric Kallenborn (fine arts department chair, Oak Lawn Community High School) and teacher Michael Gianfrancesco (North Providence High School) collected questions on social media from teachers, parents, and librarians about all things comics in the classroom and posed those questions to this amazing panel: Ronell Whitaker (English department chair, Community High School District 218), Lucy Knisley (comic creator Stepping Stones, Relish, French Milk), Jason Walz (teacher/comic creator Last Pick, Homesick), and Lisa Wu (consultant and former teacher).


History is a story told by the victors: until it’s not. The story landscape is changing. There is more space in the narrative world for stories both by and about people with diverse experiences. Join our lively panel debate to see how that re-storying is emerging; in academic institutions, in live performance, in digital experiences, and in a proliferation of creative tools that empower people to tell their stories.

Introduction by Brian MacDonald, UCLA, GeekED (ucla.edu), Moderated by Asha Eaton, KTN manager ImmerseUK (immerseuk.org)


  • Pip Brignall, co-director Reality Check Productions (realitycheckproductions.co.uk)
  • Sarah Ellis, director of digital development at Royal Shakespeare Company (rsc.org.uk)
  • Juliette Levy, University of California, Riverside, Dept of History (juliettelevy.org)
  • Linda Sellheim, education program manager at Epic Games (epicgames.com
  • Tess Tanenbaum, University of California, Irvine, Transformative Play Lab (transformativeplay.ics.uci.edu)

Special thanks to Comic-Con and GeekED for inviting us to share our thinking, and to Epic Games for their financial support of alt: a world-scale Augmented Reality multi-player game for the discovery of alternative civilizations in the real world (alt-history.com)


Peter Carlson (Green Dot Public Schools), Susan Kirtley (Portland State University), and Antero Garcia (Stanford University) lead this panel that reveals practical activities and theory involved in teaching with comics while discussing teaching and making comics with the incredible creators and educators Nick Sousanis (Unflattening), Ebony Flowers (Hot Comb), David F. Walker (Naomi), and Brian Michael Bendis (Naomi). www.comicspedagogy.com


Gene Luen Yang (Dragon Hoops) is joined by Chad Sell (Cardboard Kingdom) and science comics team Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks (Astronauts) to talk about collaboration in kids comics! This panel is moderated by Betsy Gomez and sponsored by the CBC Graphic Novel Committee.


In a panel hosted by the LitX teacher cohort, Jill Gerber (teacher, Rowland Hall School), Tony Weaver (CEO, Weird Enough Productions), Adan Alvarado (teacher, Bloom Township High School), Yehudi Mercado (comic creator Sci-Fu, Fun Fun Fun High School), and Christina “Steenz” Stewart (comic creator, Archival Quality, Heart of the City) discuss how teachers, librarians, creators, and parents can share impactful and diverse comics with kids of all ages. Moderated by Adam Ebert (teacher, Bloom Township High School).

  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm: COMICS AS A CONDUIT

Henry Barajas (author of La Voz de M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo), Rodney Barnes (author of Killadelphia), Darcy Van Poelgeest (author of Little Bird: The Fight for Elder’s Hope), and David F. Walker (author of Bitter Root) discuss comic books that tackle real world issues, be it environmental activism, civic engagement, physical and mental health awareness, and more, (including how their work is being used by librarians and educators). Viewers will leave with programming and acquisition ideas designed to inspire their readers to see the world differently and then change it for the better.

  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm: GeekEd: WATCHMEN AND THE CRUELTY OF MASKS

HBO’s Watchmen put forth the idea that “masks make one cruel”. On college campuses, many people, both students and non-students have taken up virtual masks to make statements and take actions that would not be acceptable if done in public. Zoom bombing, doxing, and anonymous threats have caused much dismay, particularly as campuses move to remote learning due to COVID-19. Come hear what educators have to say about the power of masks and how Watchmen and other comics show us a path towards heroism or villainy. Dr. Kalenda Eaton (University of Oklahoma), Dr. David Surratt (University of Oklahoma), Hailey Lopez (UC Berkeley), Robert Hypes (Phoenix Creative Collective), and Alfred Day (UC Berkeley).


Sabaa Tahir (A Thief Among the Trees: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel) is joined by James Otis Smith (Black Heroes of the Wild West), R. Sikoryak (Constitution Illustrated), and David Bowles (Rise of the Halfling King) in this discussion about graphic novel adaptations. Moderated by Adam Kullberg (Pop Culture Classroom) and sponsored by the CBC Graphic Novel Committee.


R. Sikoryak (Constitution Illustrated)
Cartoonist R. Sikoryak is the author of Masterpiece Comics, Terms and Conditions, and The Unquotable Trump. He adapts the classics for various anthologies, including The Graphic Canon, Fable Comics, and more. His comics and illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, The Onion, MAD, and SpongeBob Comics, as well as on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He’s done storyboards and character designs for Augenblick Studios on various animated projects. Sikoryak teaches in the illustration department at Parsons The New School for Design and previously at The Center for Cartoon Studies. Since 1997, he’s presented his live cartoon slide show series, Carousel, around the United States and Canada. He lives in New York City with his wife, Kriota Willberg. Constitution Illustrated is in stores next week!

Sabaa Tahir (A Thief Among the Tress: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel)
Sabaa Tahir is the author of the An Ember in the Ashes series. She grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writing while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. This is Sabaa’s first graphic novel collaboration.

David Bowles (Rise of the Halfling King)
David Bowles is an award-winning Mexican-American author and translator, as well as an associate professor of literature and Nahuatl at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. He has written over 20 books, among them Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico and Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Maya Poetry. September will see the release of his graphic novel Rise of the Halfling King, which Kirkus calls “an unmissable adventure of mythical proportions.” Next spring, the first volume in his steampunk graphic novel series Clockwork Curandera will drop. David’s work has also been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as School Library Journal, Apex, Strange Horizons, Rattle, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature. In 2017, David was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.

James Otis Smith (Black Heroes of the Wild West)
James Otis Smith is illustrator of the graphic novel adaptation Showtime at the Apollo, by music writer Ted Fox. He studied writing and film before becoming a production artist for independent movies in New York. Years of growing up reading comics had taught him how to write with both words and pictures, which was good training to become a film and video editor. Missing the straightforward honesty of ink on paper, he eventually returned to his first love, comics. In addition to the Apollo Theater history, he drew the children’s book adaptation of the fantasy novel Ancient Lands by Jason McCammon and the mature-readers cyberpunk Gang of Fools. As a childhood fan of old serials and the classic American aesthetic, he has long hoped to reclaim those stories lost in our oversimplified telling of our own history, and expand who and what we mean when we say America. Black Heroes of the Wild West (coming September 2020 from TOON Books) is his first book as both author and illustrator.

James Otis lives in the last apartment free of cats in Brooklyn, New York.

Moderated by Adam Kullberg (Pop Culture Classroom)
Adam Kullberg is the education director and interim executive director for Pop Culture Classroom, a Denver-based nonprofit.

Sponsored by the CBC Graphic Novel Committee


Vanessa Gempis (manager at Pauline Foster Teen Center, San Diego Public Library), Bijan Nowroozian (youth services librarian, San Diego Public Library), and Melissa Giffen (youth services librarian, San Diego Public Library) discuss how they approach creating effective and engaging programs for youth of different age groups. From planning the program, to promotion and communication, managing staff, and post-program reflection–the panel has tips and tricks to share for every size program. Panelists will also share some of their favorite fandom programs and what they’ve learned about virtual programs during the pandemic. Additional Resources available at https://linktr.ee/MBarbour


J. D. Lombardi (host/producer, YouTube’s Lombardi Labs and middle-school science teacher, Glendale Unified) along with Justin Montgomery (MentalXhaustion.com), Guadalupe De La O (STEM teacher/science instructional coach, Alliance Schools), and G. L. Lambert (screenwriter, G.L. Lambert Explains It All podcast) will trace conspiracies and propaganda throughout comics, shows, and movies, and how they correlate to the current climate of increased conspiracy theories. Teaching science literacy, in and out of the classroom, is more crucial now than ever in combating misinformation, especially related to our current pandemic.

  • 5:00pm – 6:00pm: GeekEd: COLLEGE AND THE NERD MIND

Teachers, education administrators, and student affairs professionals are being called to respond to a wide variety of mental health concerns across the education landscape, with students today managing greater educational debt, digital identities, and high expectations for academic performance. This has become intensified in the era of COVID-19 and the need for educators to manage the needs of students remotely This panel of educators and mental health experts share how they have applied their passion for fandom and the lessons they’ve learned from superheroes to develop new best practices in our service to students. Panelists include Drea Letamendi (UCLA), Jeremy Parker (UCSC), Aaron Jones (UCSC), and Alfred Day (UC Berkeley).


Jerry Craft (Class Act, New Kid) and Faith Erin Hicks (One Year at Ellsmere) join exciting comics artists Robin Ha (Almost American Girl), Derick Brooks (Bright Family), and Jonathan Hill (Odessa) in a discussion about new kids graphic novels. Moderated by Candice Mack (YALSA) and sponsored by the CBC Graphic Novel Committee.

Faith Erin Hicks (One Year at Ellsmere)
Faith Erin Hicks (she/her) is a Canadian writer and artist. She worked in the animation industry for several years before transitioning into writing and drawing comics full time in 2008. She started making comics “for fun” and putting them on the web when she was in college. Her first published work was Zombies Calling (SLG Publishing) in 2007. Since then, she has published a number of other graphic novels including Brain Camp, Friends with Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, The Nameless City and Pumpkinheads. Faith Erin won an Eisner Award in 2014 for The Adventures of Superhero Girl and in 2019, her debut Young Adult prose novel, Comics Will Break Your Heart, was published by Roaring Brook Press.

Robin Ha (Almost American Girl)
Robin Ha (she/her) is a Korean American cartoonist and illustrator based in Washington D.C. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling comic cookbook Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes. Her work has been published in independent comics anthologies including Secret Identities and The Strumpet, as well as in the pages of Marvel Comics and Heavy Metal Magazine. Her graphic novel memoir, Almost American Girl, talks about immigrating from Seoul, Korea to Huntsville, Alabama as a teenager in the mid-1990’s.

Jerry Craft (New Kid)
Jerry Craft (he/his) is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator. His book, New Kid, is the winner of the 2020 John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. It is the first graphic novel in the Newbery’s nearly 100 year history to receive the award. Craft is only the fifth African-American author to land the coveted prize. New Kid was also awarded the Coretta Scott King award for an outstanding work by an African American writer. Craft is the second person to have simultaneously won both awards in the same year. Craft was born in Harlem and grew up in the Washington Heights section of New York City. He is a graduate of The Fieldston School and received his B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts. He resides in Connecticut with his two sons and two beagles.

Derick Brooks (Bright Family: Versus the Multiverse)
Derick Brooks (he/him) is a cartoonist from Richmond Virginia working in comics literary publishing and animation. Derick loves to create adventure fantasy, soft sci fi, and slice of life stories about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color.) He is currently illustrating the book series Bright Family (Epic!) and in production of his first graphic novel Grip Up! (Iron Circus Comics) coming in 2022.

Jonathan Hill (Odessa)
Jonathan Hill (he/his) is an Ignatz-nominated cartoonist, illustrator, and educator living in Portland, OR. His first two graphic novels, Americus (2011), and Wild Weather: Storms, Meteorology, and Climate (2019) were published by First Second. His third book, Odessa, will be published in November of 2020 (Oni Press) and he has another forthcoming book True Tales of a Seventh Grade Lizard Boy in 2022 (Walker Books).

Jonathan teaches comics in the illustration department at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Literary Arts and chairs the Youth Programs Advisory Council.

Candice (Wing-yee) Mack (Vice President, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association)

Candice (Wing-Yee) Mack and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I manage systemwide Young Adult services, programs and collections at the Los Angeles Public Library, the third largest library system in the United States and am the incoming President of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association. As a lifelong Southern Californian, I’ve attended San Diego Comic Con since I was a teenager myself and served on the 2018 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards jury. I also served on the 2018 We Need Diverse Books Walter Dean Myers Award Jury and am past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). On Twitter, I post about food, music, libraries, YA lit, social justice and Star Wars as @tinylibrarian.

by the CBC Graphic Novel Committee


In this crash course in text analysis for graphic novels, educators demonstrate techniques and tools for building students’ critical literacy skills with graphic texts at all grade levels. This includes demonstrations on how to lead students in analyzing the elements of comics and the unique combination of art and text, share resources, and discuss challenges. Educators Trevor Bryan (The Art of Comprehension), Derek Heid (high school English Language Arts, TVUSD), Shveta Miller (Hacking Graphic Novels), Talia Hurwich (Worth a Thousand Words), and moderator Tracy Edmunds (Graphic Novels Are Elementary!) share strategies you can use with students tomorrow! Access all of the resources shared during this panel at this link: http://www.tracyedmunds.com/home/sdcc-home-2020


At the request of Will Eisner, a librarian has been a member of the Eisner Awards jury since 2005. When Jackie Estrada, Administrator for the Eisner Awards, invited Kat Kan to be that first librarian jury member, the awards began to take on a new kind of energy. Since that day, the influence of the awards has grown beyond the traditional comics community and now resonates with traditional publishers, academic institutions, and throughout the library world. Join in on the conversation as these ground-breaking librarians talk about their experience as members of the Eisner juries over the years. Moderated by John Shableski (2009 Jury) this session features five Eisner Librarian jurors: Kat Kan (2005), Karen Green (2011), Jason Poole (2016), Dawn Rutherford (2017), and Traci Glass (2019).


It’s taken a while, but there’s never been a time when comics have been so embraced by universities and colleges informal classes, studies, and even comic conventions. This panel provides an inside look at ground-breaking courses by the professionals and academics who are bringing geek culture to campuses nationwide (and beyond)! Join Paul Levitz (Columbia University, Pace University), Frank Cammuso (Syracuse University), Rob Salkowitz (University of Washington), Karen Green (Columbia University), and Darlynne Overbaugh (Ithaca College) in a robust and thoughtful panel exploring the trends and future of comics on campus. Moderated by Ed Catto (Ithaca College).


Are you a high school student with dreams of becoming a graphic novelist? Are you a high school teacher with dreams of creating a graphic novel with your class? Spirit Skies is a graphic novel written and illustrated exclusively by high school students! Not only did we dream it, we DID it! The panel will discuss the impact of Covid-19 on cross cultural artistic exchange, how technology has made this project easier and more dynamic! The student panel of writers and illustrators – including a Guna native from Panama who wrote the sequel from the tropical point of view- will be on the panel, featuring never-before-seen art, and a sneak peek at the next volume in the Spirit Skies story! The panel will take you on an exploratory journey – through the eyes of a Hummingbird! Spirit Skies is not just an adventure written by high school students – it is a lesson in environmental stewardship. With the lesson that we are all interconnected, all you have to do is go outside and you will be interacting with wildlife. It could be a hummingbird coming from Panama or Alaska!

Panel Names:
Timothy Stiven (coordinator–educator); Justin Wang (student host, editor)

Grace Chen, Riley Sullivan, Michaela Chang

Giovanna Agrazal (Panama), Sarah Goltz

Frances Chai, Hannah Wentworth, Natalie Feldman, John Aste, Josh Charat-Collins, Izzy Ster, Alex Reinsch-Goldstein


Meryl Jaffe (Worth A Thousand Words) with panelists Laurence Tan (educator) Rachelle Cruz (educator, author Experiencing Comics), and Talia Hurwich (educator, author Worth A Thousand Words) discuss how graphic novels can inspire and enrich online classroom lessons for students grades 3 and up. We discuss challenges, lesson ideas, and loads of resources.

Leonard Sultana
Leonard Sultana
Leonard Sultana is a full-time DJ / part-time nerd and is doing his damnedest to swap those around. He is the creator of An Englishman In San Diego, The Convention Collective and a rather nice cocktail involving Dandelion & Burdock.

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